Last year, when Community Brands released its Member Loyalty Study, Code of Ethics ranked as the top benefit for retaining members across all generations and loyalty segments. When we first received these results, I personally went through a range of emotions as I put back on my Membership Director hat.
At first, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe Code of Ethics, out of all other offerings, ranked number one. Why didn’t these members care about the hard work we put into networking, online education and job opportunities?
Then I felt relieved. The truth of the matter is they do care about networking, online education and job opportunities. They just care more for keeping a set of standards for their profession, Especially, when it directly aligns with the core mission of your professional association.
Our Member Loyalty Study dug into why a Code of Ethics mattered so much to members, who ranked it their highest benefit. Here is what they had to say:
These statistics made me think of the time when I worked at (ISC)2. Part of becoming a certified member, each candidate agreed to our Code of Ethics. If a member believed another member violated the code of ethics, they could file a formal complaint, which is reviewed by the Code of Ethics Committee. If the committee agreed there was a violation, the member could either be suspended or terminated from their membership and certification.
Members highly regarded the Code of Ethics. It’s a vital piece to their membership and certification. They often even thanked us for enforcing it, because it kept the certification meaningful.
When is the last time you looked at your organization’s Code of Ethics? If you are like most professional associations, it was written when your bylaws were drafted.
It’s now time to dust off your Code of Ethics!
Members are proud to belong to an association which provides a framework and standard for their industry. Keep your Code of Ethics updated and relevant. Include updating your Code of Ethics in your annual planning process. This is a must-have for retaining members. And, if you haven’t already, give members an avenue to file for violations of your organization’s Code of Ethics. Published violation procedures reinforce the validity of your code.